I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

This morning I had a note from a reader who recalled a poem I’d shared a while ago about kindness and empathy, that she knew ended with the word “bone”, and how she needed to hear it again, but couldn’t find it, and did I know what it was? Yes. It is Miller Williams’ “Compassion”. He was singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams father, and she wrote a song based on the poem. The sentiments in it are also something really important to keep in mind as I am sworn in tonight as a Haines Borough Assembly member. (The meeting begins at 6:30.) Honestly, is anything in this world truly random? 


By Miller Williams

Have compassion for everyone you meet,

even if they don’t want it. What seems like conceit,

bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign

of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.

You do not know what wars are going on

down where the spirit meets the bone. 

(From The Ways We Touch: Poems, 1997 University of Illinois Press)

This is also a week of song, which makes this poem- turned-tune even more appropriate – The Southeast Alaska High School Honor Choir and Band concert is tomorrow night at 6:30 in the Chilkat Center, and as always, it will be terrific. Then Thursday night the Arts Council presents “Women of the World” at 7pm in the Center. They are an ensemble of women from all over the world, who not only sing beautifully, but as they say, “believe in the power of music,” our bonds as women and human beings, and most importantly, in peace. They have performed to great acclaim in places like the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, but you don’t have to travel farther than the corner of Soap Suds Alley and Theater Drive in Haines to see them. How great is that? Tickets are at the door, or may be pre-purchased at the Babbling Book store. (It’s not open today though. Tomorrow after 11.)

I’m not exactly a world traveler, so having all these musicians, young and old, in town suits me fine. I did take a week off to hang out in Juneau with my daughters, and this little guy (who is now two) and that’s why you haven’t heard from me for a week. James kept me pretty busy… 


(I am home now until I fly up to Anchorage for the Alaska Broadcasters’ annual meeting where I’m giving the keynote speech on Nov. 10 at noon at the Sheraton, and then I speak at the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist congregation on Sunday morning Nov. 13.)